Wednesday, November 09, 2011

List Making and their Authors

I am a list maker.  I keep lists with me, in my car, in my kitchen and in my purse of things to do, things to purchase, things to remember.  I keep lists for other people -- remind Jon to call the insurance agent, remind Ashley about her appointment, etc.  I get this trait from my father who refers to his list as "his brain".  His list includes "to do" things as well as things to order, things to cook and things to look up.
Sometimes, when I am in the grocery store and find a list in my cart, leftover from the previous shopper, I chuckle.  I also pity the list maker who lost their list!

List makers are a group all their own.  I am sure that making lists says something about the author.  But what?
Our introduction to making lists is done at an early age.  The most famous list maker known uses his list to separate the wheat from the chaff or as is more commonly known, the naughty from the nice.  Good children were placed on the list, naughty children had their names crossed off.  From this, we learned the power of list making.  The promise of having your name on a list for which you would be rewarded.  It was something that children could visualize and a tool for behavior modification.
As we got older, lists addressed more pressing matters -- pay the bills, pick up milk, get the car inspected. Things that have to be done, but are easily forgotten or avoided. 
And still, lists are still used for behavior modification.
But don't despair, lists can be used for fun.  People make wish lists of things they want.  Gift registries abound for weddings and births from places like Tiffany's to Target, anyone can set up a wish list. "Bucket Lists" are made by people who want to accomplish things before they die - climb a mountain, go sky diving, figure out the secret to Piero's tirimisu.  

Lists read like a menu for the author.  On one page, they can create a document that puts their immediate needs into perspective.  Lists transform mundane tasks into a written account of our lives, a catalogue of our chores, the contents of a window of our day.
Lists are a tally of a moment in our lives.  They bring focus and order into a chaotic time.  Lists help us to achieve our goals.  Like a shot of vitamin B, lists are non invasive memory enhancers.
Lists are freedom.  They can be short or long, they can be written in pencil or ink.  Lists can be colorful or dreary.  They can be crumbled up when done or burned, depending on the content.  Lists can be made vertical, like a waterfall or horizontal, reading like a highway.  And best of all, no one but the author needs to even know it exists!

Allie found this fabulous book for me for my birthday.  It combines list making and imagination! It is a book where every page is a blank list!  I get to fill in the blanks with lists of various things--- from places to visit, to habits to break, animals to adopt and the like.  Each list represents a dream, a hope and a imaginative experience.
Be it the dreaded To-Do List, the Honey-Do List to the Bucket List, it doesn't matter.  All lists have one thing in common. Each list gives the author the chance to cross off the accomplished task!  Satisfaction from taking out the trash, paying the electric bill or running a 5K all comes down to whether or not we can check it off our list.  A single line or check mark can bring satisfaction, knowing that each slash corresponds to an accomplished mission. Crossing it off removes that burden from our lives, grants us freedom from that chore and a sense of fulfillment.  What an easy way to feel a sense of well being!

No comments: